Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Trump Has Threatened The President Of Panama Over The Trump Organziation's Money Laundering Empire


Remember, just over a year ago, when Señor Trumpanzee told the media that he "could actually run my business and run government at the same time" [but that he doesn't] "like the way that looks...?What I'm going to be doing is-- my 2 sons... are going to be running the company. They are going to be running it in a very professional manner. They're not going to discuss it with me." Did anyone believe a word of that? Even for a minute? About a month ago Trumpanzee Jr. was in India as a businessman and as his crooked father's emissary. And Kushner-in-law does it all the time-- even to the point of helping the predatory Saudis and UAE's go after Qatar after Qatar refused to loan his family money. (I was just in Doha and noticed their planes can't fly over the UAE or Saudi Arabia and have to fly out of its way and go over Iran instead.) Yesterday, Ana Cerrud and Dave Fahrenthold reported for the Washington Post that Trump threatened the president of Panama with "repercussions" over a Trump Tower in Panama City! "Lawyers representing President Trump’s company last month wrote directly to the president of Panama," they reported, "asking him to intervene in a legal fight over the Trump International Hotel in the nation’s capital-- and warning that the case could have 'repercussions' for Panama’s reputation."
The law firm, Panama-based Britton and Iglesias, wrote in Spanish to President Juan Carlos Varela on March 22 to “urgently request your influence in relation to a commercial dispute regarding the Trump hotel.”

At the time, the majority owner of the Trump hotel-- Cypriot-born investor Orestes Fintiklis-- had kicked out the Trump Organization as the hotel’s manager, after a ruling from a low-level Panamanian judge. The president’s company was seeking to retake control.

The request was extraordinary: The U.S. president’s company was asking the leader of a U.S. ally to intercede on its behalf, disregarding Panama’s separation of powers.

It is the first known instance of the Trump Organization asking directly for a foreign leader’s help with a business dispute since Trump was elected.

In their letter, the Trump Organization’s lawyers did not say explicitly how they wanted the Panamanian president to help. Varela, through a spokesman, has said he has not yet taken any action.

...On Monday, Panama’s foreign secretary, Isabel de Saint Malo, told the Associated Press that her office had also received a copy.

“It is a letter that urges Panama’s executive branch to interfere in an issue clearly of the judicial branch,” de Saint Malo said. “I don’t believe the executive branch has a position to take while the issue is in the judicial process.”

...It opened in 2011. In the last year, it began to struggle, according to investors who owned its hotel rooms. Its troubles included an increasingly crowded hotel market in Panama. But owners also blamed the Trump Organization, saying the president’s polarizing brand was driving away customers from Latin America.

“A financial bloodbath,” one owner called it: Rooms that he had purchased as an investment were rented out less than 10 nights a month.

Then came Fintiklis, who bought a huge block of rooms last year and became the hotel’s majority owner. Within weeks, he was seeking to fire the Trump Organization as manager, saying it was “attached to our property like a leech.”

The Trump Organization had argued that its contract to run the hotel did not expire until 2031 and that Fintiklis had no legal cause to break it.

The dispute went to international arbitration. Then, though, Fintiklis simply showed up at the hotel in February, seeking to fire the Trump Organization in person.

After a multiday standoff, Cheng-- the Panamanian judge-- effectively handed control over to Fintiklis. Fintiklis renamed the hotel the Bahia Grand and added cheeky jabs at its past operator: At the hotel bar, there are drinks called the “Stormy Jack Daniels” and the “Fire and Fury.”

In the letter to Panama’s president, the Trump Organization’s attorneys said Trump’s company had been treated poorly by the Panamanian courts-- so poorly, in fact, that its mistreatment violated a 1983 treaty between the United States and Panama governing investments.

In particular, the letter cites “irregularities” in decisions by Panamanian Judge Miriam Cheng. The lawyers say that Cheng had moved too quickly and had ignored an existing international arbitration case over the hotel.

“This situation is currently before the courts, but it has repercussions for the Panamanian state, which is your responsibility,” said the letter, signed by attorney Eric Britton.

Since the letter was sent, the Trump Organization’s prospects of retaking the Panama hotel have only declined.

In late March, an international arbitrator rejected a request by Trump executives that they be reinstated as the operators of the hotel. The arbitrator ruled that Trump’s team should not have been evicted-- but, now that it had been, he would not undo its ejection.

“The facts on the ground now militate against forcibly undoing the steps that have been taken,” arbitrator Joel Richler wrote, according to the AP.

The arbitration case itself is continuing, as Trump’s company and Fintiklis’s company are still seeking damages from the other. Fintiklis declined to comment on Monday.

“What kind of position does that put the Panamanian government in?” said Don Fox, who was a top official at the U.S. Office of Government Ethics from 2008 to 2013. He said the letter would raise questions about whether the Trump Organization’s requests were, in effect, requests by the U.S. government.

“You don’t know how that may affect Panama’s relationship with us going forward. What might they not ask for? You can’t unring this bell.”
Trump's property in Panama City is a notorious place for the Russian Mafia to park and launder its ill-gotten cash, although the Russian Mafia is an integral party of Putin's kleptocracy.

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At 8:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Even this act of influence peddling and extortion on behalf of the First Criminal isn't going to move the Congress to do their Constitutional duty and remove this incompetent crook from power before he does something really rash.

Bring on the religious hypocrite Second Banana. He won't last a year before he will be taken down.


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